Good afternoon Buckeye fans. Welcome to your one chance today to not read about Braxton Miller's injured shoulder or any hypothesizing about what it means for Ohio State's 2014 season. We're talking recruiting and the Buckeyes' opportunity to impress a few big-time standouts who've circled "Columbus, Ohio" as one of their official visit destinations, as well as updates on a few other Ohio State targets.
One of the more physically imposing prospects in the 2015 class, Salem, Utah's Porter Gustin, announced yesterday that Ohio State is one of three schools that he's certain he'll officially visit. A 6-foot-5, 240-pounder, Gustin's freakish athleticism helped him finish in the top 10 of the SPARQ national championship during The Opening.
Perhaps because of his distance away from Ohio, or perhaps because the assumption was Jerome Baker or bust for the Buckeyes third linebacker spot in the 2015 class, Gustin's interest in Ohio State — and vice versa — has not been discussed often. His decision to visit officially should change that some. When he'll visit, that is, as of now, still uncertain.
"I'm still not sure what game I'll visit for," Gustin told Eleven Warriors. "It could be anytime, I just want to make sure I'm there for the coolest environment possible."
Ohio State's linebacker coach, Luke Fickell has been recruiting Gustin hard for a while now and I'd not be surprised to see the Buckeyes become a real player in his recruitment. Gustin is the nation's 8th-ranked outside linebacker and 69th-ranked player overall.
IT'S JUST ABOUT TIME
It's hard to get too excited about a 2017 commitment, especially when the player hails from a state as "flip-friendly" as Florida, but the chances of Ohio State's 2017 class growing by one within the next ten days is very good. Cocoa, Florida's Bruce Judson, a five-star athlete from the same high school as current Buckeye commitment Jamel Dean, told 11W last night that his plans for an early choice haven't changed.
The Buckeyes have been Judson's leader since his visit to Columbus for Friday Night Lights in late July, and it's expected that when he does announce a decision it will be for Ohio State. That said, he's one of Florida's top prospects for 2017 and will have two full years to continue the recruiting process, which he fully intends to do, so the work for Ohio State will really just be getting started. The potential of a commitment means simply that the Buckeyes are the leader, and while it's difficult to understand how the definition of a word has changed so much, this is the new era of recruiting, so get used to it.
Another of the country's top 2015 linebackers, and another player who was at The Opening in Oregon, Tevon Coney, also said yesterday that he's going to make an official visit to Columbus. A star outside linebacker at Palm Beach Gardens (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida), Coney is the 10th-ranked linebacker in the country and was pretty aggressively pursued by the Buckeyes in the spring but was unable to make any visits. As Ohio State secured commitments from Nick Conner, Justin Hilliard and waited on Baker, it seemed the communication between both sides fell off, naturally.
According to Coney, things have ramped back up a bit recently and the discussions about an official visit are back on. Is there a chance for Ohio State in this equation? My initial thought is not really. In fact, I'd be surprised if Coney makes any visit outside of Notre Dame, a place he seemed to really love after a visit this summer. He'll be in South Bend in early September and I'd be more surprised if he didn't commit to the Irish then than I would if he did.
(MC)CALL OF THE WILD
One player that most folks have expected to commit to Ohio State for a while now, is North Ridgeville, Ohio's Demario McCall. Yet, McCall, the country's 86th-ranked player in the 2016 class, has yet to pull the trigger and pledge Buckeye. Does that mean things have cooled between him and the Buckeyes? Not at all according to a source close to the 5-foot-11, 180-pound speedster.
"Ohio State, that's his 'love," the source told 11W. "He just wanted to put together a recruiting packet and send it to the other schools he has interest in. The 'team up north' was not on his list, neither were any of the other schools currently interested in him."
So what schools does McCall want to hear from before he makes a decision to commit? Exactly who you'd expect.
"Alabama and Oregon, those are the main two," our source added. "Them damn uniforms at Oregon."
Any reason for the Buckeyes and Ohio State fans to be concerned? Not yet, according to our guy.
"The Buckeyes are way out in front of everyone else."